Huntingtons Disease

January 13, 2012 by staff 

Huntingtons Disease, Kathleen Edward, the terminally ill 9-year-old who won support from around the world after she was taunted by a neighbor, died Wednesday at her Wyandotte home with more than 20 friends and family members beside her bed.

She succumbed to complications from Huntington’s disease less than three years after her mother, Laura Edward, died of the same degenerative brain disorder.

“The world remembers her smile and will never forget it,” Kathleen’s father, Robert Edward, said Thursday. “She would do anything for anybody. She never complained — never.”

Ashley Edward, 5, has been looking at the sky since Wednesday night trying to talk to her sister, her father said. Her other sister, Maddison, is only 2 and doesn’t completely understand, he said.

Kathleen loved elephants, her grandmother Becky Rose said. She also enjoyed watching movies with her sisters and playing dress-up with family friend Michelle Yerigian, or “Aunt Shelly,” as Kathleen called her.

“You know the day is coming, but you don’t really accept it,” Rose said. “Or you try to think it’ll be a little bit longer. In this case, it was harder just because she got sick so fast.”

Kathleen had staples put in her head last week after a fall but recovered. A few days later, though, she became ill and unresponsive, and antibiotics couldn’t bring her back.

She died with her grandmother lying next to her in bed. Rose did the same thing for her daughter, Laura Edward, in June 2009.

“It was like reliving it all over again,” Rose said.

Kathleen received support from around the world after Rose’s neighbor in Trenton put the girl’s picture above a set of crossbones on Facebook in September 2010, among other alleged taunts.

Family members said Kathleen was for the most part unaware of the taunting, but Rose said her granddaughter did call Petkov a “bad lady.” Petkov was later arrested on charges she tried to run over another neighbor and served seven days in jail in August as part of a plea deal, according to court records.

Family friend Yerigian, 44, said Kathleen appeared comfortable at the end.

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